Sussex colleges announce plans to merge into a ‘regional institute’

City College Brighton & Hove and neighbouring Northbrook College have announced plans to merge into a new Regional Institute of Arts & Technology.

A spokesperson for the two colleges said their intention is to create a single institute that places apprenticeships and work-based learning “at the heart” of its plans to “transform the lives of young people and adults across the City Region”.

The new college is proposed to be called The Greater Brighton & Sussex Institute of Arts & Technology.

It will teach around 3,500 16 to 18 year old students, 7,500 adults, 1,000 undergraduates and more than 800 apprentices generating a turnover of around £40m, the spokesperson said.

Both Northbrook College and City College Brighton will retain their local campuses and delivery in Brighton, Shoreham and Worthing, but will be led by a central executive team and governing body “pursuing a single strategic plan”.

There will be a full public consultation later in the year to gather the views of staff, students and the local community.

Sue Dare, principal of Northbrook College, said: “For me this is all about creating an organisation with the capacity to invest in a broad curriculum offer establishing a sound educational footing of mathematics, English and employability skills for all our students while at the same time developing a suite of vocational specialisms up to and including degree level courses.

“These specialisms will be closely aligned to local economic priorities including creative, digital and IT in Brighton and Worthing, Engineering at Shoreham and Worthing, and construction at East Brighton.”

Nick Juba, chief executive of City College Brighton said the “expansion and growth” of apprenticeships will be a “key component” of their strategy for the institute.

“It will provide a genuine alternative to A-levels and University and access to a wide range of professional and technical qualifications to degree level,” he added.

“It will focus on giving our students the skills they need find jobs and careers across the City Region and beyond. That’s what we do best and it’s what will make the new institute different.”

When asked by FE Week about the new name dropping the word “college”, Mr Juba said: “At present we are simply developing proposals for the new organisation. This is true for the name too. Nothing is fixed at this stage although it is worth reflecting that there is a long history of the use of the term ‘institute’ within the further and higher education sectors and, in particular, in Brighton.”

The merger comes ahead of the recommendations of the government-led wave one Sussex area review, which had its first steering group meeting on October 22 last year.

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